SocialBiz14 conference wrap-up: Four key take-outs to drive social media business transformation

SocialBiz14 conference wrap upI attended the SocialBiz14 Conference (#SocialBiz14) on 18 and 19 February 2014. The conference brought together executives, leaders and professionals from Australia's most successful brands and organisations to focus on how to use social media to drive business transformation.

The program was packed full of an impressive line-up of speakers, delivering highly engaging and educational presentations on a diverse range of social media topics for business professionals.

Here is a summary of four of my key take-outs from #SocialBiz14. I will confess that I missed the morning session on Day 1 as I was presenting the Facebook Power Strategies Webinar for the Australian Businesswomen's Network at the time, so I can't provide a summary of those sessions, but I heard that Brian Solis and Trevor Young were brilliant (of course).

1. Be Helpful!

Timbo Reid of Small Business Big Marketing fame gave a highly energetic presentation on his view of social media, which to him is just “people having conversations on-line”. For businesses to be successful in social media they need to be a part of those conversations by creating content that is both interesting and helpful to their community.

“Every single one of us is standing on a mountain of knowledge – share that knowledge openly.” ~ Timbo Reid

Ask your community questions, then answer those questions in a consumable way on social media.

Lauren Anderson from collaborativeconsumption.com took the concepts of “being helpful” to a whole new level when she presented the concept of Collaborative Consumption (otherwise dubbed as “the sharing economy”).

The concept of collaborative consumption is simple. Make use of resources where they are required, whilst at the same time eliminating the idle time of resources.

When was the last time that you used your power drill?

This new consumer shift is driven by new technologies (particularly social media), environmental changes and uncertain financial climate. Collaborative Consumption is influencing how we live, work, play, create and consume, giving rise to a whole new economy of people sharing in an environment based on efficiency and trust. This new economy creates unique experiences between people that goes well beyond and deeper than just the event of sharing itself. Some of the examples of businesses building on the back of this new movement include:

  • Airbnb
  • Taskrabbit or Airtasker (Australian equivalent)
  • Openshed
  • MammaBakers
  • Etsy; and
  • Liquidspace

Collaborative consumption enables empowerment, openness, connectedness and collaboration like never before possible. Could you incorporate the principles of collaborative consumption into your business?

2. Be Creative!

Todd Sampson of Leo Burnett totally captivated the audience on the competitive advantages companies can gain through creativity.

Todd declared that “creativity has the power to change the world, but fear has the power to stop that from happening and the most successful leaders and organisations of the future will be the ones that can successfully balance both”.

Todd was instrumental in establishing Earth Hour, which is evidence of how a little bit of creativity can make a significant impact. Todd declared that “creativity can be learned, it just needs to be practiced!”, with advertising being “the price companies pay for the lack of their own creativity”. He also spoke of the importance of assembling an eclectic group of people to tap into different perspectives to tackle a specific problem and generate as many unfiltered ideas as you can. Borrowing other people's experience in this way and switching perspectives can assist in unlocking your own creativity. We all have three basic fears. Fear of the:

  • Unknown
  • Failure; and
  • Looking bad

Action overcomes fears! Can you hold back those fears and be braver for longer than others? If so, you are likely to achieve greater success!

3. Be Engaging!

Jonno Simpson from Twitter used the dating analogy to demonstrate what makes an effective social media engagement strategy. Isabelle Oderberg from News Corp Australia took this to the next level by comparing social media to sex. You need to give people a reason to want to date you. You need to keep them interested. You need to listen and respond to them. You need to be the kind of person they would be proud to talk to their mates about. You need to be the kind of person they would want to go on a second date with. Don't pimp yourself out at your first meeting by trying to seal the deal on the first date! Over time once you have been dating them for a while you might want to progress your relationship to the next level. Create a safe environment and think first kiss before you try to go the whole way. When you do make it to home base, make sure you are good at it so that people spread good messages about you and not bad ones!


Matt Tindale from LinkedIn spoke about Content Marketing as being the bridge that builds relationships. Interestingly, content now outstrips jobs for engagement on LinkedIn by seven times.

4. Be Safe!

By far the best entrance of #SocialBiz14 went to Gerry McCusker, author of Public Relations Disasters: Talespin–Inside Stories and Lessons Learnt who rode in on the back of a souped up motorbike (shame on me for not knowing enough about bikes to be more specific). His theatrical presentation on online risks and crisis communication was also the session that had me taking down the most notes (more on that in a future post). Mark Bayly from Victoria Police and Jeanette Gray from Hootsuite also spoke on this topic.

Do you remember the PR nightmare of the #susanalbumparty campaign? This is taking Todd's previous suggestion of being creative to a whole new level! Clearly they didn't instigate Todd's other concept of having more than one head decide what the Hashtag should be for Susan Boyle's Album Party or they never would've come up with that one!

History demonstrates that things do go wrong in the world of social media and an online issues management plan is your on-line insurance policy that once implemented will protect your business from a social media nightmare in the event of a crisis.

Jamie White of Pod Legal backed up the “Be Safe” sentiment by alerting us to the legal risks connected to social media usage in terms of:

  • Misleading and deceptive conduct – Fake reviews or endorsements on your LinkedIn profile from people you haven’t worked with can be deemed to be misleading or deceptive conduct.
  • Copyright law – Copyright is the unauthorised reproduction of a substantial part of someone else's property without authorisation. What amounts to a substantial part is a matter of quality rather than quantity. Lifting a photo from somewhere on the internet and just providing credit to the creator of the original work is not sufficient to avoid to copyright infringement. You need permission!
  • Trademark infringement – Don't include logos of brands on your website or social media platforms without their permission.
  • Spam – Ensure you are incorporating an “unsubscribe” option on all email marketing campaigns that you send and only send these types of emails to people who have opted-in for this form of communication.
  • Privacy – Businesses need to be open and transparent about how they collect, use and disclose personal information. You should have a clear and easy to understand privacy policy that is easily accessible via your website.

Other Cool Stuff

I got to form deeper off-line relationships with many of the people that I regularly engage with on social media. Social media is great, but face-to-face always wins!

I got to meet and hang out with one of my idols, Brian Solis. And I actually met people from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite! Yes, there are actually people that work for these often faceless organisations and it was great to see Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all sitting on the couch together at once.

I must also mentioned that I loved hanging out with talented Jordana Borensztajn, a social media comedian who made us all laugh about the lighter side of social media marketing. I can't believe I found my match when it comes to someone who loves social media as much (maybe even more) than me. LOL

Check out this Flipagram of my Instagram images from #SocialBiz14 below:

About Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is as a social media strategist, educator, coach, public speaker, blogger, early adopter, self-confessed lover of all things geek-eske, and mother of three.

As the founder of Impactiv8, Loren helps businesses grow using the power of social media and lifecycle marketing automation.

Loren has created three online training programs: Social Media Success, FB Business Success and Linked Business Success and she also offers bespoke social media presentations, workshops, one-on-one coaching and social media implementation services.

Loren is also the producer and co-host of the highly successful #BusinessAddicts The Podcast, which she hosts in conjunction with Fiona Redding from The Happiness Hunter.

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